Michael Goulding (United Kingdom)

Michael Goulding is a partner at Lambert Walker Construction and Restoration Ltd and he manages 25 members of staff restoring stately homes, cathedrals and churches across the North West of England.

Michael knows a thing or two about skills competitions. He competed regionally and nationally in stonemasonry skills competitions before representing the UK in stonemasonry at the WorldSkills Competition in South Korea in 2001. In 2005 Michael accompanied the WorldSkills Team to Finland in the role of Assistant Training Manager. “I learnt so much through competing in skills competitions, not only in terms of technical skills but also in terms of developing my own self belief in what I do. I wanted to be an Assistant Training Manager in order to give something back and pass on my knowledge to other competitors.”

Some of that knowledge must have been passed on, as Gary Collier, the 2005 UK competitor for stonemasonry, won a silver medal at WorldSkills 2005.

How did you get involved in Skills Challenge Competitions?

“When I left school I thought that I wanted to be a joiner and began to look to do an apprenticeship. A stonemasonry apprenticeship was advertised in the newspaper; I decided to apply and was successful. I became involved in skills competitions whilst I was at York College as they encouraged students to participate.

I competed regionally, then nationally and then I was chosen to represent the UK in South Korea.”

How has competing benefited you?

“Participating in skills competitions has developed me in so many ways. I had to learn to manage my time effectively, deal with pressure and communicate with a wide range of people - from other competitors to the press through to professionals in the industry. It really built up the level of confidence I had in myself.”

Has being involved in skills competitions changed your approach as an employer?

“It has made me think about training and developing people. Every year our company will take on two apprentices. When they have been with us for twelve months we offer them the opportunity to go to college to do an Apprenticeship. At the moment we employ an apprentice who has just won the National Stonemasonry Competition.

I hope that he will be selected for WorldSkills in 2007 as I will be in a position to offer him a lot of practical advice and guidance. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for him.”